The women have already begun producing jams, juices, noodles, sauces and sausages made out of seaweed.
The nine-day training was imparted under the aegis of the International Training on Small Medium Enterprise Sector on Seaweed Production programme. Fiji’s Ministry of Women and the Ministry of Fisheries and Forestry in association with the Indonesian Government helped host the programme that trained 32 participants.
Aidil Chandra Salim, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Fiji said, “This training has provided very simple techniques which have been profitable in Indonesia and I am sure will produce similar results for Fiji. The techniques are environment friendly and it will develop the skills of women and youths to pursue home based businesses. Indonesia is glad to provide this assistance and partner with Ministry of Women to create income generating opportunities for people in Fiji.”
Indonesian seaweed expert, Maria Gigih Setiarti said that the trainees have great potential and they should be provided with further training to diversify their skills. “The different species of seaweed have different use – for example cottonii is best for processing food items. Seaweed products are healthy to eat and are highly rich in fibre and protein,” she said.
The training will continue next year and extend to the manufacture of other projects: “We look forward to return next year and train these people on making cosmetics and skin care products from seaweed. Now Fiji doesn’t have to import seaweed as these trainees are well equipped with skills in seaweed cultivation techniques, processing and product promotion and marketing,” Ms Setiarti added.